It’s a spiraling feeling, hearing your loved ones have cancer. You are sad, angry, confused, and ready to take action all at once.
But aside from the tactical support of taking them to and from appointments, calling them up to spend time, and trying to help with logistics and care, you are often still at a loss for what to do to help.
Here, it’s important to remember the parts of care that aren’t medical. There are a few major ways you can make a big difference for your loved one:
Help them with their body image
It’s one thing to hear you have a devastating disease, and yet another to see it physically change and destroy your body. Hair loss, scarring, and weight loss can all be debilitating to your loved one. It’s important to make them feel good about themselves. Remind them that they are beautiful and ensure that spending time to feel good is part of their treatment too:
Have a girl’s night in to do face masks or foot baths and relax.Give a makeover to try out a new lip color or smoky eyeBring them an accessory to wear that makes a regular outing feel special.
Enjoy spending time with your loved ones, and have a blast doing it. Showing you care takes all shapes and forms, and your loved ones will appreciate your time and effort.
Make nutritional needs fun
Cancer comes with a loss of appetite, and a need to be stringent about the nutrients and vitamins that your loved one is consuming. Make a healthy night in fun, rather than a chore.
Host an Iron Chef cooking competition with friends or family with a healthy item featured for the mealTaste test different brands of your loved one’s favorite healthy foods to make the experience fun!Make a themed experience out of the meal - maybe it’s “a night in Paris” or “Murder mystery dinner” but putting a loose theme around the evening can make a boring or basic meal more of an experience (that pairs well with a movie or board game)
Know how to keep your distance while letting them know you are there
Your loved one is going through a lot and often needs that extra time to rest. But cancer is often a long battle, and it’s important for them to remember that you are with them every step of the way. There is a lot you can do to make them feel connected, without having to physically be there with them.
Commit to reading the same book together or watching the same show. Text them little updates periodically. You could even do this with a group for a virtual book clubSend one positive text or note to them first thing every day (or every week). It’s easy, but will make a big difference, even if the positive thing is that you saw a cute puppy, have a funny meme to share, or just want to say hi!
Make them feel included. Send them an update on what’s going on with friends, other family members, or other areas of your life. Let them feel like they are still a part of group activities, or up to date on the latest gossip. It’s an easy way to bridge the distance, and give them new news to focus on.
Stay Beautiful Always,
The Stay Beautiful Team!